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Contributed by Tom Netting, Chief Executive Officer, TEN Government Strategies

As you may know, the U.S. Senate recently began conference committee proceedings to reconcile the COMPETES Act, H.R. 4521, that the House of Representatives passed on February 4, with S. 1260, the US Innovation and Competition Act, which passed the Senate last April 20. At stake are provisions that would prevent the for-profit education sector’s involvement in a new short-term workforce education program.

As mentioned in our February 24, 2020 Advocacy News and Perspectives update, Section 90305 of the House-passed COMPETES Act contains an amendment, sponsored by Rep. Andy Levin, creating a new Pell Grant program for students participating in workforce education programs.

The language in the House-passed bill excludes all students attending proprietary schools, as well as schools that have converted from proprietary to not-for-profit status in the past three years, from eligibility for the new program.

While S. 1260 does not contain the new Pell program, or language excluding the for-profit education sector, Senators in both parties had attempted to attach exclusionary provisions to the bill last spring, failing only on a procedural technicality. Advocates for the for-profit sector expect this could happen again. Rep. Keller has introduced a bill—H.R. 5777, the CHOICE Act—that would allow for-profit institutions and students to participate in this new program.

WHAT YOU CAN DO.

The button link below provides a letter regarding the COMPETES Act language that you can use to help the for-profit education sector with outreach to lawmakers in both chambers, to explain to them the harm you feel this prohibition would cause, and the value that for-profit programs add to students and the local economies where for-profit schools operate. The letter urges them to ensure that an issue of critical importance to a significant portion of for-profit school students and institutions is addressed in compromise legislation Congress is considering soon.

Advocates are urged to contact all of your Congressional Delegation(s), asking them 1) to support the program created in Section 90305 of the COMPETES Act, and 2) demand language that allows students attending proprietary institutions to participate.

We look forward to keeping you informed with updates as the conference committee discussions proceed.

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About the author

Tom Netting, Chief Executive Officer at TEN Government Strategies, is an experienced Public Policy Advisor with a demonstrated history of working in higher education legislative and regulatory affairs. Skilled in Nonprofit Organizations, Negotiation, Analytical Skills, Governmental Affairs, and Government. Strong community and social services professional with a Bachelor of Science focused in Business Administration from Presbyterian College.  

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